Columns

Essential Suffering

May 23, 2017 / Seth Pierce

Nothing heralds a holiday like stores loading their shelves with celebration-specific sweets three months prior to said holiday. The day after Halloween, Christmas candy is placed on display, the day after Christmas we are treated to Valentine’s Day candy, and after V-Day sugary Easter goodness glistens and beckons for us to consume it.

My personal favorite is Cadbury’s chocolate eggs. The bite-sized chocolate covered in a crisp candy shell. The texture of that candy shell crunching in my mouth is a delight I wait the entire year for.

My Salvation Army Funeral

May 23, 2017 / Martin Weber

Blessed are the peacemakers.

You never know who will show up at a funeral. Men who normally didn’t attend church listened as I eulogized Scottie, one of the regulars at our daily homeless ministry before he drank himself to death. His buddies were scattered throughout the Salvation Army chapel for the memorial service, along with my clergy colleagues in the community.

Scottie was of infinite value to God and to us, I explained to the group. Suddenly, Sam’s drunken hollering interrupted.

Hope Springs Eternal

May 23, 2017 / John Freedman

I never tire of experiencing life-changing, Holy Spirit-inspired miracles. And miracles are what I witnessed as Shawn Boonstra, Voice of Prophecy speaker and director, presented Jesus Speaks Peace recently at the Washington State Fairgrounds. God moved powerfully during these meetings. Several hundred good interests responded positively, undergirded by many volunteer prayer partners. During the short time I was there, I watched three joyful baptisms.

Salvation for Dummies

May 23, 2017 / Dick Duerksen

The “For Dummies” books have made a ton of money for writers and publishers. There are scores of titles, each one describing complex tasks in simple language. They’re the go-to books for those of us who get lost in the 12-page/five-language directions that come with our new purchases.

Plumbing. Learning Spanish verbs. Doing taxes. Beekeeping. List any subject, and Dummies.com probably has a book for it. There’s even a Revelation for Dummies!

However, when I did not find one covering salvation, that set me to writing.

Hide-and-Seek

May 23, 2017 / Seth Pierce

Playing hide-and-seek with small children provides minimal challenge. Often children select obvious places (hiding under a blanket in the middle of the room) or, if the lights have been turned out, will request that you hide with them. At times the anticipation of being found becomes intolerable, and they burst out of closets or cupboards yelling, “HERE I AM!” However, once children grow older they become adept at disappearing.

One Page

May 23, 2017 / Dick Duerksen

“And, finally, Lord, please bless the missionaries and the colporteurs around the world.”

The man assigned to the morning prayer in worship this week was one of the older elders, a retired pastor whose gray hair and halting steps spoke of many hard years. Clearly, he had thought through his prayer carefully and spoke to God for all of us as if he and God were having a personal conversation in his living room.

Will America Exchange Liberty for Security?

March 31, 2017 / Martin Weber

Will America forfeit civil and religious liberties in quest of national security? Our cities seethe with political and racial turmoil, while threats multiply from radical Islamic terrorism. Some foresee a crisis of such magnitude only God can save us. Desperate leaders could transform American democracy into theocracy.

How could that happen? What might it look like?

Consider the following imaginative scenario:[i]

Blemishes

March 29, 2017 / Steve Vistaunet

For years now, mirrors have been telling my story with increasing honesty. The supple skin of yesteryear is rapidly developing the patina of age.

This patina is not the graceful kind. There’s no hint at the artful brush strokes of a Rubens or Rembrandt. Blemishes once faint are now promenading in bold relief. They confirm the prophetic word of those old black-and-white Reader’s Digest ads, which bemoaned “Those Horrid Age Spots.” Big deal, I thought as a kid. Yet now prophecy has been fulfilled. My decades-old skin proves it. And, frankly, I suppose it is no big deal.

The Touch of God

March 18, 2017 / Dick Duerksen

I was looking for elk hide, enough to make a new set of buckskins for the Fort Bridger Mountain Man rendezvous. A banker friend, who looked like a 1920 fur trapper, recommended I “wander up to St. Maries, Idaho, and see my friend Lars Eidnes. He’s got more leathers than the Hudson Bay Company.”

That’s why I was standing in a fur trader’s warehouse among stacks of every kind of animal skin available in North America.

Thesaurus

March 18, 2017 / Seth Pierce

A couple years ago a man named Tom ruined the game show Jeopardy for everyone in the world. The question, or answer as it happens to be in the game of Jeopardy, posed to the contestants read as follows: In common law, the age of this, signaling adulthood, is presumed to be 14 in boys and 12 in girls. “What is puberty?” would have secured a correct answer and $400.